Sunday, May 25, 2014
The Gold Coast Suns continue to improve their best ever ranking by the week, moving up to eleventh, and almost into positive territory in terms of ranking points. Apart from Melbourne, the Suns are the most improved team of the past five weeks (see the return of the Delta Past 5 column in the table below).
It is a bit tough to spotlight a team here that actually won on the weekend, but Collingwood have taken an ever-so-slight step back in recent weeks, and were expected to beat the Eagles at home by more than they did.
ALSO OF NOTE
Almost halfway through the season and there has only been one change to the top eight-ranked teams – Port Adelaide replacing their co-tenants Adelaide.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
I must say that I would already be inclined to agree with a book that claimed the three hardest words in the language are ‘I don’t know’, and pushes ‘the upside of quitting’. I completely agree with the view that many people claim they know more than they do (probably including me, at least on occasion… ha!), and that it is hard for people to admit failure on a project. The chapter on why Van Halen singer David Lee Roth was like King Solomon was also a neat bit of story-telling, the chapter title harking back to the first book’s comparison of what schoolteachers and sumowrestlers have in common – a mystery with a surprising but logical conclusion. Other chapters, such as how to persuade people, were less compelling, although they also have their neat twists.
Overall, this was the least (and possibly last) of the three ‘Freakonomics’ books so far, but for me that is like saying it is the least of the three Christopher Nolan ‘Batman’ films – it is pretty hard to live up to the first two books’ subjects of corrupt sumo wrestlers, ambitious drug dealers, and the economics of being a prostitute. It's Levitt – it’s great – and thank the econ-gods we have the best blog going around to tide us over until the next instalment.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Yes, I do not think it would have won if the Austrian singer had not kept her beard, but hey, it was still probably worthy of a top five or ten finish, and it is far from the worst winner the Eurovision Song Contest has had. The music was a bit James-Bondish (or maybe James Bond recast as a semi-pornographic flick – ‘RISE like a phoenix’), though you could also imagine it as the closing track of a 2010s version of ‘Priscilla Queen Of The Desert’. Actually, it brought to mind for me Antony And The Johnsons’ ‘I Am A Bird’ album, in terms of the image of a bird serving as a metaphor for being ‘re-born’ into another gender. In any case, my aunt who is from Austrian heritage can barely believe that a bearded lady got them over the line. But from my recollection, Eurovision Song Contest competitors are two from two from trans-sexuals (Dana International winning for Israel). So maybe that is the key to Eurovision success after all.
Monday, May 19, 2014
AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL: Are AFL food prices all that unreasonable?
COMIC BOOKS: Free comics! Courtesy of the British Library’s Comics Unmasked Digital Anthology.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
The schizophrenic Roos move up to fifth (barely) after thrashing the Brisbane Lions. As said before here, North Melbourne looks to have taken a slight step back from last season, but they are getting over the line for the win more often and look well-placed to get the finals spot they missed out on in 2013.
Richmond loses half a dozen ranking points and its spot in the top eight after kicking every shot it had on goal last week through the behind posts. Its 2013 form is what keeps the Tigers in ninth spot – based on 2014 form alone they would be ranked in twelfth spot.
(That bitterness you can detect is me as a Tigers supporter finally getting tired of football. Crisis blah blah crisis blah crisis crisis. Who even cares? I would rather pull out all of my toenails with a toothpick than watch Footy Classified tomorrow night.)
Monday, May 12, 2014
West Coast picks up a few ranking points and a ranking spot after thrashing the GWS Giants.
Nothing of note really. Boo to the bye rounds.
ALSO OF NOTE
Just a reminder: even teams that do not play can change in ranking points as the system reassesses the relative strength of their previous opponents.
Sunday, May 4, 2014
The Gold Coast Suns achieve their highest-ever ranking with a big win over the Kangaroos in Melbourne. The Suns move up from 15th to 12th this week, gaining seven and a half ranking points from their impressive win.
A few teams take big hits this week: St. Kilda from their 100+ point mauling against the Hawks, North Melbourne from their aforementioned loss to the Suns, Brisbane from their big loss at home to Sydney, and Adelaide from losing at home to the 17th ranked Demons.
ALSO OF NOTE
Hawthorn is now rated as being four goals ahead of anyone else … although that gap may magically disappear when they play the Cats again.
I found the team pretty easy to select actually. One difficulty was what to do with players who crossed ‘centuries’ like Wayne Carey. Though Carey only played half of his career after 1996 it seems to me ridiculous not to have him included in either the AFL Team of the First Century or the Second when he has clearly been better than any other centre half-forward that has come after. Similarly I also put Tony Lockett in, as while other full-forwards have kicked more goals since ’96 (Matthew Lloyd in particular) none of them would generally be rated above him, and Lockett played enough seasons after that date to make his selection defensible. I also considered Glen Jakovich, but Jakovich did not make a single All-Australian team after 1996, and the difference between him and my selection Justin Leppitsch was not large enough to overlook that point. So here it is:
B: Gavin Wanganeen (Ess/PA), Matthew Scarlett (Geel), Dustin Fletcher (Ess)
HB: Andrew McLeod (Adel), Justin Leppitsch (BL), Corey Enright (Geel)
C: Nathan Buckley (Coll), Michael Voss (BL), Chris Judd (WC/Carl)
HF: James Hird (Ess), Wayne Carey (NM/Adel), Mark Ricciuto (Adel)
F: Lance Franklin (Haw), Tony Lockett (Syd), Ben Cousins (WC/Rich)
R: Dean Cox (WC), Robert Harvey (StK), Gary Ablett (Geel/GC)
I: Dane Swan (Coll), Nick Riewoldt (StK), Matthew Pavlich (Fre), Adam Goodes (Syd)
I think this team captures pretty much every significant player since 1997, except possibly Jonathan Brown. But if Brown came in, then I think the player that would have to come out is Nick Riewoldt. And given that Brown only has one All-Australian selection to Riewoldt’s four, and Riewoldt also has an AFL Players MVP to his name, I am sticking with the St. Kilda captain. Luke Hodge for Corey Enright also made me think a bit, but I stuck with Enright because he is a ‘true’ defender, and there are enough midfielders slotted elsewhere.
Of course by the time the AFL Team of the Second Century, or the Bicentennial, is picked most of these players will be well and truly forgotten. It will be up to a few to argue that Gary Ablett was talented enough to adapt to using jetpacks in the forward 50.
*PS: For what it is worth only Wayne Carey, Gary Ablett Jr., and Michael Voss would force their way into the team for me, at the expense of Jack Dyer and Greg Williams (with the bench expanded to four players).
Saturday, May 3, 2014
SPORTS: Legoland depicts David Moyes’ departure from Manchester United.
MUSIC: A defence of Alanis Morissette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill’.